He was picked as one of Tear Sheet magazine's "50 Most Beautiful Faces" of October 2001. In 2008, Tatum co-starred in director Kimberly Peirce's film Stop-Loss, about soldiers returning home from the Iraq War, and in director Stuart Townsend's film Battle in Seattle, about the 1999 protest of the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle.
He subsequently signed with Page 305 (Page Parkes Modeling Agency), a modeling agency in Miami.
He was cast by Al David for Vogue magazine and soon after appeared in campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Nautica, Dolce & Gabbana, American Eagle Outfitters, and Emporio Armani.
Tatum and Dito Montiel, who worked together on A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, reteamed on the action drama Fighting for Rogue Pictures.
Tatum starred as Sean Mc Arthur, a young man who scrapes up a living scalping tickets in New York City. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Paramount Pictures' live-action film based on the popular Hasbro action figures.
Tatum next appeared in writer/director/producer Michael Mann's 2009 crime drama Public Enemies, playing the 1930s American gangster Pretty Boy Floyd. He was initially reluctant to take the role as he feared the movie would glorify war; however, he overcame his reluctance after reading the script.
His experience in the fashion industry began as a model working for noted clients such as Armani and Abercrombie & Fitch.
He soon moved into television commercials, landing national spots for Mountain Dew and Pepsi in 2002.
He is known for his portrayal of the character Duke in the 2009 action film G. His parents wanted more effort and gave him the option of selecting a private high school or attending a military school; he chose Tampa Catholic High School, where he graduated in 1998 and was voted most athletic. US Weekly reported that around this time Tatum left his job as a roofer and began working as a stripper at a local nightclub, under the name "Chan Crawford." after an audition in Orlando, Florida; he was paid 0 for the job.
He appeared in films as Dear John (2010) and The Vow (2012).